Feeding from the tap.

Today, a question for the room: Have you ever eaten a spear of asparagus right out of the ground? Snapped it off and ate it as you wandered through the rows? You should try it sometime, if you ever get a chance; it’s like a whole different vegetable, as tender at the base as it is at the tip. No bitterness, no stringiness. I’m thinking these rabbits are onto something. Maybe we should all get on all fours and graze a bit.

No, I haven’t been smoking weed or anything. John and Sam, aka J.C. and Sam, have been in Lansing for the last few weeks, helping Sammy’s father start his journey down the ghost road. That journey having commenced over the weekend, I stopped by on my way out of town yesterday and beheld his legendary garden — he was a botanist — which will be on its own this season, although I’m sure the neighbors will enjoy the strawberries and raspberries and other perennials. We enjoyed the raw asparagus. Man, what a revelation.

And if you had spent most of the day in Excel training, that’s what you’d remember about the day, too.

Excel: I know it’s a titan of software. I know it makes data analysis possible in ways undreamed of by data nerds in times gone by, but when the most common thing you hear in several hours of training is, “Excel will trip you up,” maybe there’s a little feature-not-bug thing going on. I use Numbers, m’self. It does everything Excel does — except for something called “pivot tables,” and may I never learn what those are — and looks prettier.

And other than that, it was a lot of driving. But a beautiful day.

Bloggage?

Sure: Lots of women get abortions at 24 weeks, because they “had to have a career.” A dispatch from the right-wing propaganda war, “October Baby.”

It’s simply appalling how long it’s taken Detroit’s city council to come to terms with reality, but it finally did. I’ve started making screen captures of Charles Pugh’s glasses — he wears a different pair every day. I’m thinking it’s a metaphor.

And now I’m off to my warm, soft bed. Downside of the week, y’all.

Posted at 12:19 am in Detroit life, Movies, Same ol' same ol' |
 

61 responses to “Feeding from the tap.”

  1. Dexter said on April 5, 2012 at 12:47 am

    It was about twenty five years ago when my sister-in-law lived way out in the Ohio countryside and we were visiting, when I took a stroll around the grounds and came across an asparagus patch. It was started by the previous tenants and I was told to take all I cared to.
    I ate a couple spears raw, and I can still recall the taste sensation and what can be described as crisp tenderness. I read some recipes and I did not ruin what I took home and cooked.
    Suggestion for the Bart Simpson punitive blackboard message:
    “Asparagus Does Not Make Your Pee Smell Funny”.
    Even though it does. 🙂

  2. Deborah said on April 5, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Does anyone know why asparagus does that to your pee? I’ve always wandered about that.

  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 6:54 am

    It’s a mercaptan, but my chemistry knowledge breaks down about there. I know Ben Franklin complained about it, so it’s been an issue in the boudoir for some time!

  4. nancy said on April 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Coozledad is a fine amateur botanist. He’ll know.

    I think, like other weird plant reactions — the cilantro-tastes-like-soap thing, for instance — it doesn’t affect everyone, or may be intermittent. I noticed it once, years ago, never did again, and then had it reappear the other night, after a fine grilled steak/asparagus meal.

  5. David C. said on April 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

    My brothers and I always grazed through my grandparents garden. We ate asparagus, peas, beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, and anything else we could get our hands on all raw. The downside was that grandpa was a big believer in and user of DDT. I often wonder if that’s why neither my surviving brother and I were able to have children.

  6. alex said on April 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Antibiotics make your pee smell funny too.

    So what, exactly, is “October Baby”? A light comedic fantasy?

  7. basset said on April 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

    And pineapple juice makes your… never mind.

  8. John H. McDonald said on April 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

    About the asparagus-urine smell: some people process sulfur compounds that are found in asparagus and secrete them in their urine, and some people don’t secrete the smelly sulfur compounds; the difference may be genetic. It’s not entirely clear what the sulfur compounds are in the asparagus (probably “asparagusic acid”, which is found in asparagus but not other vegetables), and there’s some disagreement about what the smelly compounds in urine are (maybe methanethiol, maybe dimethyl sulfide, maybe something else or a combination). And to make it more complicated, some people can smell the compounds, and other people can’t smell them; that may also be genetic. You can read much more than you want to know about smelly asparagus urine at http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mythasparagusurine.html .

  9. beb said on April 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I grew up loving asparagus because we had a patch in our garden. I don’t think I ever ate it raw but it was always fresh cut the day it was steamed. And like Nancy says, fresh is soft and tender and flavorful. And by cutting it young it never had that woody texture of store bought asparagus. It does take a bit of ground, though, to grow.

    When I was young, and thus when my parents were young, we had a huge garden. We had asparagus and rhubarb patches, raspberries, gooseberries. Corn, peas, beans (green and lima) pickles, melons and tomatoes. And others things I guess but don’t rightly recall. We grazed from the garden during the summer and canned enough to last most of the winter as well. Eventually, I think, it got to be too much work, especially as us kids moved away and there wasn’t the need to put away so much food.

    “October Baby” is a diatribe against uppity career woman framed as an abortion issue. ‘Light, comedic fantasy’ it is not.

    It reminds me, though, for a current, very irritating story-line in one of the newspaper comics that I follow. “9 Chickweed Lane” follows the lives of three generations of women who live at that address, except that’s all dispersed in recent times. The daughter, Edda, is 19 or 20, lives in new York and is a ballerina. Her boyfriend is a concert Celloist also in New York. Abouit a year back in story-line time they finally gave into their passions and had hot monkey sex which, humorously, was broadcast world-wide. Afterwards her boyfriend proposed marriage (“to make her an honest woman”) and she said no because she wanted to pursue her career. As if marriage would prevent her from working as a ballerina. Now, after what one presumes to be a year of more hot monkey sex, Edda is starting to throw up a lot so she rushing home to her mother, to tell her that “she’s late.” They then rush off to Vienna to tell her grandmother that she may be pregnant. At no time in the story have they gone to a gynecologist to find out if she’s actually pregnant. That would take the fun out of the story but, geeze, this is the 21th century. You can buy reliable home pregnancy tests without a prescription and without anyone caring if you do. And of course the other thing is, if Edda was determined to put off making a family to pursue a career, why wasn’t she taking birth control? Again, this is the 21th century, but the writer is acting like it the 17th century.

    The Detroit City Council’s foot-dragging on signing off on the Emergency manager consent agreement has to be seen as their attempt to protect their phoney-baloney jobs (Thank you, Mel Brooks) because once the emergency manager is in place the council will be as useless as tits on a bull. I don’t expect any good to come out of the Emergency Manager. He, like the mayor and the governor are determined to balance Detroit’s budget on the backs of its workers, people who haven’t seen a real raise in a couple decades. The real problem is that there’s no money in the city to run the services it needs to run, and the state (ie, the governor) is determined to reduce any revenue-sharing that might go Detroit’s way. Austerity has not worked for Greece, Spain, England or Ireland, I don’t see why it would work in Detroit, either.

  10. coozledad said on April 5, 2012 at 9:02 am

    All I know is that if I forget I’ve eaten beets there’s a split second where I think I must have ruptured a major bleeder somewhere.
    We planted a small plot of asparagus at our old house. Like lettuce and celery it takes some mindful effort to cultivate down here. One day some of my relatives came out to visit and my aunt (a particularly oblivious creature, even for a New Deal titty fed Republican) tore out a bunch of the new plants saying “Look! it’s asparagus fern!”
    My wife gave her the Semiramis ordering her captives flayed alive look, and said, “Well fuck yeah. It’s because it used to be goddamn asparagus.” But because she was gobsmacked, she neglected to add “Stupid bitch.”

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I love it when relatives or neighbors help weed unasked. My wife has native wildflowers on both ends of our house, and in early spring, I’ll grant you it looks ragged — but by July it’s glorious, and full of butterflies. In May and June we have to do lots of explaining, and anticipating. But we’ve never tried asparagus. Most of my garden is sage and basil, in deference to the deer herds that pass through nightly from the hills to our north into the river just south of us.

  12. Bitter Scribe said on April 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Waiting for someone to make a movie about a woman killed or maimed in an illegal abortion.

    Still waiting…

    Once I read where a Catholic priest, presumably with a straight face, said that “girls” who get hurt having an illegal abortion are no more deserving of sympathy than someone who accidentally blows him/herself up while making a bomb.

    I remember thinking, Would they get more sympathy from him if the bomb was intended for an abortion clinic?

  13. alex said on April 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

    They have their alternative news media. It only follows that they should have alternative cinema, alternative Girl Scouts and alternative everything else to help them maintain the fiction that is their universe. The opiate of the masses — now in Technicolor.

  14. MichaelG said on April 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Not to brag, but the best asparagus in the world is grown down in the delta about forty miles from here. It’s in season now. Yum. You never see stalks that are woody or stringy or tough. It’s all fresh, sweet and tender. The Sunday farmers market has stuff that was caught yesterday. The supermarkets sell asparagus that is only a couple of days old. I love the stuff and eat lots and lots of it. And yes, it makes my pee smell funny. Sacramento is a locavore’s heaven.

  15. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

    It’s around Opening Day, even though Bud Sellout has obscured that tradition like it was a tied All-Star game, so Babe Ruth on asparagus. I have eaten asparagus fresh from the garden. Cucumbers are great this way, and raw corn still on the stalk is sublime. As was President Obama’s take on Willard’s calling the Ryan Budget “marvelous”. and Ryan’s claiming his budget was aimed at saving government programs for Americans that need them most by enacting massive rich people tax cuts at the expense of Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, SCHIP, the VA, etc. What an assplug.

    And Bud Selig is single-handedly responsible for the stupidest, most unsportsmanlike rule in the history of organized sports: The league that wins the meaningless midsummer exhibition gets to bat last in the World Series, despite team records or anything else competitive. It might say commissioner on his office door, but the guy is still just the low-rent owner of the Brewers, that let Rupert Murdoch buy the team of Jackie Robinson and run it into the ground.

    And much-maligned Rachael Ray has a good tip on asparagus. Break a medium stem at the breaking point, line ’em up, and chop ’em off.

  16. Bitter Scribe said on April 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Uh, Prospero…I’m far from an expert on baseball, but wasn’t it that McCourt guy who ran the Dodgers into the ground?

  17. Sue said on April 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

    beb, I think comics storylines are an indication of audience demographic, which tends toward older folks, right? As opposed to comic book demographics, which if you watch Big Bang Theory, is young and nerdy. Don’t know, other than to say if you’re not reading The Comics Curmudgeon, you’re missing something.
    http://joshreads.com/

  18. Sue said on April 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Oh, and I fear today may become produce-side-effect TMI day at Nancynall.

  19. adrianne said on April 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Thanks, Prospero, for the Babe Ruth link: For some reason, that anecdote sticks in my mind!

    The CSA farm that we go to always has fine, fresh asparagus available during the month of May. I always go a little berserk, but my go-to recipe remains Marcella Hazan’s asparagus cut into diagonals, sauteed with some butter and salt in a covered pan, then add mushrooms, turn up the heat and take the lid off. Delish!

  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Bitter Scribe, there’s “Cider House Rules,” both book & movie.

  21. John (not McCain) said on April 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

    “Antibiotics make your pee smell funny too.”

    Super Sugar Crisp used to as well. God only knows what Golden Crisp does.

  22. LAMary said on April 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

    There’s an illegal abortion that goes bad in Dirty Dancing. Luckily Jerry Orbach, the cardiologist father of pre nose job Jennifer Grey, takes care of everything. He does, however, think that evil Patrick Swayze is the father.

  23. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Well Cheerios stink so badly in the bowl, they must have some unpleasant effect on urine.

    Scribe, Fox ownership damaged the Dodgers market value to the point that McCourt could buy the ballclub, and Fox mangled the minor league system, which had been the best for years and years. The McCourts are crooks, News Corp. was more like a stupid plantation owner.

    Antibiotics really make bovine urine stink, and then they get into the watershed and into people. Voila! MRSA.

    Cider House Rules, movie is better than the book, which is one of John Irving’s somewhat unfortunate rehashes.

  24. alex said on April 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

    And bourbon can make your poop smell like bourbon and come out with about the same consistency and color.

  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Prospero, to be fair to John Irving, he wrote the screenplay, which doesn’t happen much in novel to film projects. And you see him in a long shot as the stationmaster at the train station; he had two lines, but they were cut (ha! said Irving – serves me write for trying to sneak myself into my own script).

  26. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Whoa, I’m a fan of John Irving, but he does tend to do minor rewrites of himself as often as Ray Davies used to. Bears, whores, Vienna wrestling. When he breaks that pattern (Owen Meany, Son of the Circus), he’s incredibly inventive. A lot of this started with Setting Free the Bears, which is one of my favorites.

    Novels to film? How ’bout Terry Southern, who was an accomplished screenwriter as well as a novelist. His most famous book, Candy, was made into a lackluster movie despite Marlon Brando’s presence. The Magic Christian, with Peter Sellers and Ringo as Guy and Youngman Grand, I consider the film version a counter-culture classic that far surpasses the novel. The free money scene is one of the most cynical and wickedly funny things ever put in a movie.

  27. Dorothy said on April 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Next time I see a sign around here advertising fresh asparagus, I’mma gonna stop and get some. When I drive home from work I pass a home that used to have that sign up this time of year, but last spring they razed their garden and took down their greenhouse. I think they’re retired from the small landscaping business they had (flower baskets and what-not were available too.) I bought from these folks a few times and you are right about how scrumptious the fresh stuff is. I think we need to plant some at Casa Dorth and Mike. Heaven knows we have the space for it.

  28. Jeff Borden said on April 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I have a spring in my step because real baseball starts today at Wrigley Field with the Cubs and tomorrow in Arlington, Texas with the White Sox. It probably speaks to my advanced age –just a week or so shy of 61– that I love this game. When I used to do more driving, I loved tuning in broadcasts from non-Chicago teams, savoring the different styles of the broadcasters. We’re in for a long season around here as both ballclubs are projected to be sub-.500 teams, but who cares? It’s baseball.

    The other thing that has me smiling? SheWho guest hosted “Today” this week and drew a whopping 23,000 additional viewers. Say goodnight, Gracie.

  29. coozledad said on April 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Prospero: The soundtrack to the free money scene didn’t hurt. Do you have any idea which show Badfinger is lip syncing on here? I can’t figure out if the host is Jerry Lee Lewis’ son/cousin or a German hopped up on crank.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ignPJYr31yU

  30. Julie Robinson said on April 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    How about Vera Drake? Imelda Staunton’s character is just helping out women who are in a little trouble, and she ends up in prison after one has complications. It falls into the category of really good movies that I don’t think I can stand to watch again.

  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    “Setting Free the Bears” is worth finding; I think it’s Irving’s first novel.

    Fun e-mails out of corporate for all Gannett folk; a round of buyout offers (about a thousand qualify, but only half that offered; think “Hunger Games” for grownups), and then yippee, another furlough week for everyone! Gotta get it in by June, too. But don’t let it impact quality of our output!

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OjBUc95VjiNjcOrARSQGXF6AB6tm8Ee3apchkGz46Ck/edit

  32. Deborah said on April 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    TMI day at nnc indeed.

  33. Maggie Jochild said on April 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    When I had my first D&C, it was also my first surgery ever and I was so nervous, I read far too much in advance about What Could Go Wrong. I was especially nervous about the curet slipping and perforating my uterus. After it was over, I went to the house of my vegetarian herbalist girlfriend who had made me a special stew that she said was tonic for wimmin’s parts. The next morning, she went off to work. I got up later, still weird from the general anesthesia, used the toilet where discovered large blood clots in my stool. I began dressing in a panic, and hurriedly called a friend to meet me at the ER. I was nearly hysterical: “No, I’m not in pain, but my bowel must be perforated, dammit!” She thought for a minute and asked “Were there, by chance, any beets in that stew you ate last night?”

    I still giggle when I think about what the ER staff’s reaction would have been — once I’d had a colonoscopy and who knows what else done to me.

  34. Bitter Scribe said on April 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Prospero: Oh, yeah, I’d completely forgotten about Fox owning the Dodgers before McCourt. Too bad they wrecked the team like that.

    (Or maybe not, since I’m a Cubs fan and remember how the Dodgers so quickly dismissed them from the playoffs.)

  35. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Jeff, I thought Water Method Man was Irving’s first book, but, at any rate Setting Free the Bears is terrific. It’s kind of a one-sitting book if you have the time. And what a great title. Always thought it would be a good name for a band.

    That show host is Hans or Dieter or Detlef, Cooze, and that is not an American show. Free Money (the Frothy and Willard game):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQxL0O1lYvg

    Terry Southern was a childhood hero, and my cadre of would-be subversive 6th Grade Catholic School boys had a communal copy of Candy. The nuns would have barbecued us had we been caught with it. Luckily, only discovered by the FB coach, who confiscated it and never said another word. Terry Southern was a writer on Dr. Strangelove, after Peter Sellers sent copies of The Magic Christian to many friends, one of whom was Stanley Kubrick.

  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    So, just to be mean – why did newsroom numbers go up so far, so fast through the 80s? Was that unsustainable, internet aside? But the experience & institutional memory is getting flushed out of the system wholesale, with little regard (IMHO) for the end-product they’ll get from the shiny new young (cheaper) staff, which may be mostly end-product when we’re done.

    http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2012/04/newsroom-staffing-hits-34-year-low.html

  37. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Bitter Scribe: That Cubbies opener could be a good matchup with Demster vs. Strasburg. Interesting to see how the phenom Messiah comes back.

    Setting Free the Bears was indeed Irving’s first novel. Garp his fourth, fittingly finished tsecond to Going After Cacciato (Tim O’Brien) for the National Book Award.

  38. Judybusy said on April 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    True story: one of my coworker’s husband’s family purposely names their kids so their initials will make cool acronyms. Their son’s: GARP. I ’bout doubled over laughing when my co-worker informed me that, yes, it was on purpose.

  39. Jolene said on April 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    FYI, To Kill a Mockingbird is being shown on the USA network this coming Saturday with an intro by Barack Obama, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the film.

  40. Suzanne said on April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I fed my first baby some pureed beets and nearly went into a near panic when the next dirty diaper was full of reddish goo.

    And it seems that Indiana has discovered a few more millions floating around out there: http://journalgazette.net/article/20120405/NEWS07/120409761

    Too bad Our Man Mitch isn’t running for pres. He may have “found” enough $$ to pay down the debt.

  41. del said on April 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Favorite line from To Kill a Mockingbird, “stand up your father’s passing.”

  42. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Orrin Hatch says Dems and the President will smear Romney’s Mormonism. Oldtimers or preemptive strike,considering Romney called the President an atheist two days ago, I’d go with the latter. Sleazy little shit.

    The governor of my homestate is a fracking idiot.

  43. Dorothy said on April 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I wouldn’t watch a movie on USA Network if they paid me $100/hour to do so. Too many commercials. However I’d love to hear what the Prez says in his introduction, so I will record that. Thanks Jolene.

    And for Judybusy: My daughter’s initials are LEM. My Aunt Peg was the first one to come visit me in the hospital when she was born (big snow storm – Uncle Johnny drove and he would drive in anything) she said “All she has to do is find someone named O’Neil that she wants to marry, and her initials will be LEMON!”

  44. Jolene said on April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I thought of the commercials issue too, Dorothy. Will record the movie and see whether I can stand to fast forward through them. AMC is awful too. I was really annoyed about watching Mad Men and The Killing in snippets last Sunday. Even watching recordings where I could ff, I found the interruptions distracting.

  45. Jolene said on April 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Back to gardening: We had huge gardens on the farm where I grew up, with all sorts of wonderful produce. Lots of weeding, hoeing, and picking, followed by lots of canning and freezing of what we didn’t ear fresh. Among the best were corn on the cob and tomatoes, which we ate sliced every night for supper during much of August and September. But the absolute best were the peas. We would pick them by the dishpanful, and my mother would rap our knuckles as we shelled them to keep us from eating too many.

    We froze lots of them, but those she cooked right away, she boiled lightly in water, drained, and then poured in milk with lots of added butter, salt, and pepper. Just wonderful. Wish I had some right now.

  46. Jolene said on April 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    A sad story resulting from the increasing restrictions on abortion. A good example of why hard cases make bad law.

  47. brian stouder said on April 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Suzanne, the Daniels article you linked to is flatly amazing.

    But I guess it should not be; the man WAS President George W Bush’s budget director, as that administration crashed the budget of the United States (akin to being the navigator of the Titanic).

    The only real question here is, is ‘my man Mitch’ more incompetent than crooked and corrupt; or more crooked and corrupt than incompetent? (and a corollary question might be, who will “independently” audit the books? S&P?)

  48. MichaelG said on April 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    “Candy” had one of the greatest lines in all of recorded literature. “Give me your hump! Give my your hump!”

  49. Dorothy said on April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I own a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and have put it on to watch on Sunday afternoons while I’m sewing or ironing (yes I still do both). Your description was so lovely, Jolene, until you got to the word “peas”! Not a fan, not now, not ever.

    My son sent a quick email this afternoon to say he knows one of the Ohio National Guard soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday. It’s on the Dispatch and local television stations as breaking news that three of the soldiers who died are Franklin County residents. This of course caused me to dissolve in tears when I read his email. All I can think is “It could be my son among those….” This is a first for him – to have a personal connection to someone who’s died. He has not been deployed yet, but he is currently at FLW, MO doing M.P. training. And his birthday is Easter Sunday this year. Wish I could be there to give him a hug.

  50. Minnie said on April 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Jolene, that story makes me sick to my stomach. How did we come to this?

    Prospero re Gov. Haley: How do these people live with themselves?

  51. Bitter Scribe said on April 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    IIRC, Terry Southern said he named Candy after Candide. Pretty funny.

    For me, the most infuriating part of the story Jolene linked to was that Oklahoma legislator trying to act like she knows better than any doctor.

  52. Little Bird said on April 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    if inducing labor causes fetal pain, I will assume natural labor does too.
    Also, if the uterus is crushing the fetus, isn’t it likely that that hurt? Why make mother and fetus suffer for a week? I just don’t get it.

  53. Jolene said on April 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    There are a lot of legislators acting like they better than doctors, Bitter. When the Virginia legislature passed its law requiring ultrasounds prior to abortion, there were doctors who testified that this procedure was completely unnecessary, but their views had no effect. Nothing about all these restrictions has anything to do with medical well-being.

  54. brian stouder said on April 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Jolene – you know, it seems that when all is said and done, rationality is reduced to just another point of view.

    It is cold comfort that the ‘gender gap’ is widening into a Grand Canyon; the anti-rational/anti-woman/know-nothing R’s may have no chance to win the presidency, but they can surely win lots of seats in state houses all across the country.

    The thought occurred to me that I’d almost trade losing the White House to ‘those people’, if we could win back congress and lots of state houses.

    And then it occurred to me that this is precisely what those people did, over the past 4 years.

  55. Prospero said on April 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Good interview of Terry Gilliam:

    http://www.vulture.com/2012/04/terry-gilliam-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-interview.html?mid=agenda–20120404

    I remember when AMC was ad-free. Thank God our cable carries TCM. We have a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and do not get tired of watching it. The kid that played Scout was exceptional.

    Candy is a very funny book. The movie had in the cast, besides Marlon Brando, Richard Burton and, I think, James Coburn. Haven’t seen it in about 40 years. Not very good as I recall. The Magic Christian, on the other hand, still produces chortling and guffaws. Terry Southern also wrote the screenplay for Barbarella, and is credited as a writer, with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, on Easy Rider. Helluva resume, Jack.

    I just wonder whether Nikki Haley didn’t practice safe sex when she had all those affairs. What sort of role model is she? What sort of an example is that to set?

    edit:

    Perfect Kickstarter Project for today’s discussion:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1975983630/homesweet-homegrown-cross-country-amtrak-book-tour?ref=NewsApr0512&utm_campaign=Apr05&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter

  56. Charlotte said on April 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Asparagus grew wild in “the lane” at my grandmother’s farm — I remember picking with her but we rarely made it back to the house with enough to cook. So so good (grew especially well out of cowpats — my cousind and I are a living examples of the hygiene hypothesis).

    That grandmother also had two more children than she wanted to — is quite open about trying to find someone to abort the pregnancy that became my Aunt Molly. “I just couldn’t face 4 more years in the park with a stroller” she said. But when she went to the address someone gave her, it was so dirty it scared even her. The next ploy was taking the train to California (from Chicago) to have the baby with the same doctor who delivered her first two. Molly figures the plan was to put her up for adoption and tell everyone the baby died. Instead she left her in the hospital for 3 weeks, went on vacation, came back and picked her up. Good thing since that’s who she lives with at 101. But honestly, having more kids than she wanted made her kind of a crappy mother, and did damage not only to my mom and her siblings, but to my grandmother herself. That we’re STILL discussing this is insane.

    Abortion was legalized about the time I was in high school, and I remember her getting in my face, telling me if I “got in trouble” to come to her. Of course, I don’t think I’d even been kissed at that point … but it was nice to know.

  57. Deborah said on April 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Charlotte, I suspect that your story is more prevalent than any of us will ever know. But excellent in the way you told it.

  58. alex said on April 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Charlotte, my mom comes from a long line of women who felt it was their absolute right and were rather surprised that it became such an issue of late. It may have been illegal, but in their day doctors made house calls for precisely this reason—usually to the homes of women who couldn’t afford another mouth to feed or endure another pregnancy; occasionally for the poor little rich girl or the pastor’s knocked-up daughter.

    The Indiana Medical Journal on e-books or google books, I forget which, would list numerous physicians whose licenses had been suspended for performing abortions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Shortly thereafter their licenses would be reinstated. It was all pro forma. Slap on the wrist to appease the indignant, then back to work. One such doctor was Mary A. Whery, M.D., obstetrician and gynecologist of Fort Wayne, one of the few licensed female physicians anywhere in those days.

  59. Dexter said on April 6, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I love good baseball, and the best team in recent history was the 1995 Cleveland Indians. I made many trips across the Ohio Turnpike to Jacobs Field to watch them on weekends. From 1993 until 2001 , nine seasons, I loved watching them.
    Now there is another team like that, the 2012 Detroit Tigers. Jeff Borden already let us know not to expect much at all from Chicago teams, because, well…they are both laden with average players and younger guys the regular fans have never heard of.
    Cincinnati is right down the road from me, three hours away. This 2012 Reds team is really , really good. I have XM radio, but my portable unit is always going bad, so I only listen in boombox mode, and I can get all games with the home announcers. This year I can get both the Tigers and Reds easily on terrestrial radio, and these two teams just might make it to the World Series. It’s going to be fun. Cleveland is back on the scrap heap, however.

  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 6, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Not as painful or destructive in the short run, but arguably as damaging over time, is the way legislators are micromanaging education as they try to in medicine, with the same ludicrous unintended consequences as in Nebraska; yet Aunt Molly’s continuing existence points to why the answer surely isn’t as simple as eliminating all limitations on abortion procedures.

    In the same way, having no evaluation procedures for teachers & administrators can’t be the way to go, but I spent Wednesday morning in a meeting with seven school district superintendents who are, I would argue, in despair over what they are facing in the next year in implementing the new Ohio mandatory evaluative processes, which cannot in any reasonable way be integrated with the new teacher credentialing process — which is also legally unalterable in any detail. So the immovable object will encounter an irresistible force this summer, and in the fall . . . ? Plus there are key elements of the teacher & administrator evaluations that run right into standard contract language in collective bargaining agreements. “How are we supposed to . . .” was the common opening statement, over and over. The law, among other things, has created a set of restrictions that makes it weirdly like a logic problem to evaluate assistant principals. In essence, you can’t; you have to pay someone from another district outside of your ESC to come do it. Which creates yet another new, unbudgeted expense. “This really isn’t such a big problem,” one superintendent said. “At the rate we’re going, we soon won’t have any assistant principals.” To which a couple mentally reviewed their roster and nodded grimly: “Yeah, I’ve only got a couple now.”

    There was one happy man at the meeting. He retires May 30. The second happiest man retires in December. Everyone else was very, very disturbed. I’ve gotta tell ya, and this from a guy who relishes tangling with some of them on my own issues: it’s quite disorienting to see a roomful of these folk, who are normally so detached and Olympian in their affect, truly ill at ease and agitated, all while discussing their jobs and their careers. They just can’t see a way forward that doesn’t go through a very deep valley of discontent.

  61. beb said on April 6, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Morning, Jeff. I’ll second your comments about legislatures trying to micromanage education. My experience is as a father but my daughter’s Junior year in high school had one full class devoted to passing the MEAP test here in MI. Time that ought to have been spent teaching something instead of trying to cover the teacher’s asses. And since there’s no simple, clear-cut and good to tell am effective teacher from a bad one, there is no way an evaluation will ever be any good.